Nola: What to See and Do in 48 Hours

I have been to New Orleans more times that I can count on one hand. Luckily for me, I live only two hours away making it the perfect 2-3 day getaway! Each time that I go to New Orleans I find another wonderful spot to discover. This city is filled with so much Southern charm, amazing food, colorful houses and streets, and the birth place of Jazz! This is a short 48 hour guide on the things that you do not want to miss while visiting this wonderful Southern city. If you want some tips from an Insider check out this Insiders guide to New Orleans post!

First off I will start by saying that there are many great hotels to choose from in New Orleans. New Orleans is actually a fairly walk able city, except when you are going to the Garden district. I usually always stay on Canal Street because it is so easy to get to the French Quarter and surrounding areas by walking. The hotels in the French Quarter are also very pretty, charming, and so unique!

Click HERE to search and compare the best hotels in New Orleans for your stay! 

The French Quarter

You cannot go to New Orleans without visiting and wandering around the French Quarter. I have been to the French Quarter so many times and never fully just took the time to wander through all of the streets and alleys. My last trip to Nola, I just took the entire afternoon to walk and boy did I find some of the most beautiful little spots! If you love colorful buildings with gorgeous balconies than the French Quarter is for you! There are also an abundance of places to eat, drink, and have desert. Trust me, your belly will be full after walking through the French Quarter. Make sure to pay a visit to the French Market and see all kinds of handmade goodies and try the food at the food stands. I am literally getting hungry just thinking about all of the good food! If you are a lover of daiquiris like I am, than you are in luck because there are daiquiri stands all over the French Quarter that you can buy and carry around with you.


Discover the Cutest little colorful houses in the French Quarter. I mean can I please live in one? I remember thinking, “I hope the owner of this house does not walk outside as I am posing in front of their house” the entire time!


Jackson Square

Jackson Square is located in the heart of the French Quarter and is adorned by a beautiful Catholic Basilica, St. Louis Cathedral. The park in front of the Cathedral showcases a statue of Andrew Jackson and lots of greenery made for a relaxing Southern afternoon. There are usually street performers in front of the park and Cathedral and various people selling interesting trinkets. You can even get your fortune by one of the many fortune tellers in the square.


The Garden District

The Garden District is a stunning neighborhood in New Orleans filled with gorgeous historic mansions and massive oak trees. Southern historic mansions are my all time favorite because they have so much charm and character. I mean I really could not imagine how much history each house contains within its walls. You can do a Garden District walking tour or you can do what I did, just walk the entire area by yourself! The tour is great if you want to get individualized history about each important home. Also while in the Garden District, make sure and visit one of the historic cemeteries. I mean sounds a little creepy right? But the cemeteries in Nola are exceptionally beautiful!


Walk along the Riverwalk

The New Orleans Riverwalk is situated alongside the Mississippi River. You can enter the Riverwalk from canal street and walk all the way down toward the French Quarter. The Riverwalk has restaurants, parks, a shopping mall, and the famous steamboats anchored on the Mississippi River. Take a steamboat cruise down the Mississippi River for sunset or you can even have a dinner cruise. If you are into the Aquarium than it is also located right on the Riverwalk!


Eat at Cafe Du Monde

A trip to New Orleans is not complete without going to Cafe Du Monde at least once but most likely a few times! I have been to Cafe Du Monde at least a dozen times and I can say that every single time it is pure magic! Those are the best beignets I have ever eaten in my life and the abundant amount of powdered sugar make them even better. Pair them with the famous Cafe au lait or a glass of regular/chocolate milk for an unforgettable experience! Cafe Du Monde is always crowded no matter what time of the day and the best part is they are open all day and all night.


Visit Commanders palace in the Garden District

If you are wanting fine dining in the prettiest blue building than the Commanders Palace is for you! Commanders Palace has been around since the 1880s and is famous for its authentic and amazing food. I think that everyone should at least once eat at this hallmark restaurant and splurge.


Go to the Audubon Zoo

The Audubon Zoo is one of my favorite things to do in New Orleans! I have always loved going to the zoo, but this zoo especially is truly magnificent. It is filled with so many neat exhibits, that even as an adult I become mesmerized.


Stroll through Bourbon Street

Even if you do not drink alcohol, a stroll through Bourbon street is absolutely a must! This street extends 13 blocks and is situated right in the French Quarter. There are hundreds of bars, restaurants, and interesting shops along the way!

Eat at the House of Blues

House of Blues is definitely a hallmark of New Orleans especially because of the importance of music in the city. The menu features various types of foods, including famous Nola dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo. If you have not tried gumbo yet, than you are seriously missing out! I could easily eat 2 or 3 bowls of it.


Eat Breakfast at Cafe Fleur-de-Lis

This adorable little cafe is situated in the French Quarter and is totally worth the wait to eat! Luckily we went early in the morning and did not have to wait, but 30 minutes later the line was already starting to form. The breakfast was so good that even though I was already full, I could not stop eating! Totally worth every single calorie.


Book a Ghost, Swamp, or Plantation Tour

While in New Orleans you have the option to do a ghost tour through one of the many supposedly haunted cemeteries. There are also swamp tours pretty much daily through the swamps outside of New Orleans. Cruise through the swamps on an air boat and experience nature at its finest, and all of the alligators! And a visit to New Orleans is not complete without visiting the stunning old plantations. Oak Alley is located right outside of New Orleans and is famous for its long row of oak trees leading up to the plantation.

And lastly just roam the beautiful little streets in the French Quarter, Jackson square, and Garden district. There really are so many beautiful little surprises every where you turn, keeping you wanting to come back again. New Orleans is definitely one of my all time favorite US cities and I know that I will keep going back, especially to get a taste of those heavenly beignets!

For More Reading:

For more awesome posts on New Orleans, Check out my friend Caroline’s Blog Post on three days in New Orleans!

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4 thoughts on “Nola: What to See and Do in 48 Hours

  1. Great post, Andrea! New Orleans is currently my #1 city on my US bucket list. I wish there were better flight deals out of SF! I need to make a point to get there this year though. Saving this guide!

    1. I really hope you do! Its such a charming city! Let me know when you make it there, I am only two hours away! Thank you for reading!

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I love New Orleans, I always find a prettier little spot when I go! I hope you return soon!

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